#114 Robert Kaplinsky: Depth of Knowledge, Open Middle Problems and effective CPD

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Hello and welcome to another episode of the Mr Barton Maths podcast, with me Craig Barton.

This time around I spoke to Robert Kaplinsky.

Robert has been an educator since 2003 as a classroom teacher, teacher specialist for Downey Unified School District, instructor for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and presenter at conferences around the world. He is also the author of Open Middle Math: Problems That Unlock Student Thinking, Grade 6-12, creator of the #ObserveMe movement, and co-founder of Open Middle.

I have been wanting to get Robert on the show for ages. I love Open Middle, I love the lesson idea he shares on his blog, and I love getting his emails in my inbox with subject lines like: Ready for controversy? I don’t think we should be training all teachers…

And I tell you what, he did not disappoint.

So, in a wide ranging conversation,we discussed the following things, and plenty more besides:

  • What is Robert’s favourite failure, and what did he learn from the experience? And it is a cracker!
  • What are the current areas of interest and debate amongst US maths teachers?
  • Can you teach problem solving like you can teach adding fractions?
  • What is the Depth of Knowledge framework, and what would it look like for something like ordering fractions?
  • What are Open Middle problems – and again Robert provides us with a cracking example
  • What has Robert learned about getting the most out of Open Middle problems?
  • Why does Robert think online CPD is the future?
  • And what is something important that Robert has changed his mind about?

I loved this conversation. It is always fascinating to get to speak to educators from different parts of the world, and this interview fits nicely into my US Collection, together with Dan Meyer and Michael Pershan. I hope you will take a lot away from it.

Robert Kaplinsky’s Big 3:
1. openmiddle.com
2. robertkaplinsky.com
3. grassrootsworkshops.com


My usual plugs:


Thanks so much for listening, stay safe, and I really hope you enjoy the show
Craig Barton

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